They exist in abundance. Despite an overwhelming global consensus that human activity is causing climate change, there remains a small but well-funded core of deniers – people who will go to almost any length to cast doubt upon a scientific reality that grows more obvious, and more frightening, by the day.
A huge number of those people work for “think tanks” in the U.S. and Canada – organizations like the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the National Centre for Public Policy Research, the Heritage Foundation, the George C. Marshall Institute; and the Cato Institute. These think tanks are often heavily funded by the fossil fuel industry or by donors like the Scaife Foundation, which derived their wealth from fossil fuels. Then they use that money to make arguments that would sound laughable coming from directly from a big self-interested spender like ExxonMobil. The best example, the most laughable, is the CEI ad campaign, “We Call it Life.”
But it’s not funny. It’s doing real damage, paralyzing the policy process in the United States, Canada and Australia and slowing action in other parts of the world. The prestigious Royal Society of London has become so concerned that it went public this fall, challenging ExxonMobil to stop funding this think-tank driven disinformation campaign. Exxon took the matter under advisement.
The bottom line, for us at the DeSmogBlog, is that this is not a scientific discussion, it’s a public relations war, and while we’re not scientists, we know a fair bit about PR.
That’s why we got involved, and we’re proud and delighted by our success in this first year, calling attention to some of the worst public relations abuses in the climate change debate. We rose quickly into the top two per cent of all blogs worldwide that are tracked by Technorati, which currently ranks the DeSmogBlog in the “high authority” category, a tribute to our reach and our credibility.
Credit for that must go to the DeSmogBlog team. Manager Kevin Grandia keeps the machine churning, writers Ross Gelbspan, Richard Littlemore and Bill Miller provide insightful and well-researched content, and Sarah Pullman maintains an essential link to the internet community.
We must save the largest share of praise, however, for our benefactor and my partner in creating the blog, John Lefebvre, a man who is using his goodly fortune to improve the fortunes of those around him. I am inspired by his example and always invigorated by his dedication, determination and intellectual input.
So, Happy Birthday to us. And to the deniers: brace yourselves. We’re just beginning to get the hang of this and we’re looking forward to an even more effective second year.